Archives

The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman

The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice HoffmanThe Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman
Genre: Historical
Release Date: 24th April 2014
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Coney Island, 1911: Coralie Sardie is the daughter of a self-proclaimed scientist and professor who acts as the impresario of The Museum of Extraordinary Things, a boardwalk freak show offering amazement and entertainment to the masses. An extraordinary swimmer, Coralie appears as the Mermaid alongside performers like the Wolfman, the Butterfly Girl,and a 100 year old turtle, in her father's museum; alongside performers like the Wolfman, the Butterfly Girl, and a one-hundred-year-old turtle. One night Coralie stumbles upon a striking young man taking pictures of moonlit trees in the woods off the Hudson River.

The dashing photographer is Eddie Cohen, a Russian immigrant who has run away from his father's Lower East Side Orthodox community and his job as a tailor's apprentice. When Eddie photographs the devastation on the streets of New York following the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, he becomes embroiled in the suspicious mystery behind a young woman's disappearance and ignites the heart of Coralie.

With its colorful crowds of bootleggers, heiresses, thugs, and idealists, New York itself becomes a riveting character as Hoffman weaves her trademark magic, romance, and masterful storytelling to unite Coralie and Eddie in a sizzling, tender, and moving story of young love in tumultuous times. The Museum of Extraordinary Things is Alice Hoffman at her most spellbinding.

This was an excellent read tbh. Partly historical fiction and partly a rich description of New York City as it was being built up, this book, I’m pretty sure, was written just for me. It tells the story of poor Jewish immigrants, of young girls and boys working in terrible conditions just to earn money to feed themselves, of the things people will do to earn a living and I think what I really appreciate about this novel is how Hoffman includes characters who are often overlooked by history and gives them a voice in her text.

Continue reading